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  • Author or Editor: Rebecca J. Knowles x
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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether the direction of dominance as determined by agonistic interactions away from food was different from the direction of dominance as determined by access to a resource in cats.

Animals—28 cats.

Procedure—Dyadic relationships and hierarchy formed from observation of agonistic interactions away from food were compared with those formed from interactions at the food bowl. A cat was scored as subordinate to another cat if it lost 3 of 3 interactions or lost ≥ 75% of the interactions when > 3 interactions occurred.

Results—Cats were observed for 449.4 hours. Hierarchy rank determined by agonistic interactions away from food was significantly correlated with rank determined by interactions at the food bowl. In 27 of 31 dyads, the direction of dominance was the same for food bowl and agonistic relationships, which was significant. In post hoc analyses, when considering the relationship between 2 cats, the heavier cat most likely ranked higher in each hierarchy; however, age was not significantly correlated with either hierarchy. On the basis of dyadic information, the older cat in a dyad was more often dominant in agonistic interactions. Males had a higher mean dominance rank than females; however, sex had no effect on rank determined by interactions at the food bowl.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Factors influencing dominant-subordinate relationships are of interest for understanding and treating behavior problems such as aggression and resource control. The outcome of agonistic interactions away from food was related to, but not perfectly correlated with, the outcome of interactions at the food bowl, although winners of those agonistic interactions tended to have control of food. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1548–1556)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate associations between relatedness and familiarity with the affiliative behaviors of maintaining proximity and allogrooming in cats.

Animals—28 privately owned cats in 1 colony.

Procedure—15 of the cats had 1 or more relatives present representing 5 genealogies. Each cat was observed in 15-minute intervals for 3.5 hours during the study. All occurrences of allogrooming behavior were recorded. At the onset of each 15-minute observation period and at 2- minute intervals thereafter, the identity and location of all cats within 1 m of the observed cat were recorded.

Results—Relatedness and familiarity was significantly associated with the number of times a cat was within 1 m of another cat and how often a cat was groomed. For relatives and nonrelatives that were equally familiar to a given cat, relatives were significantly more likely to be within 1 m and to be groomed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Familiarity and relatedness are significantly associated with allogrooming and proximity of another cat. This may be important when considering adoption of 1 or more kittens and when adding a new cat to a household in which other cats are present. Adopting small family groups may result in higher rates of affiliative behavior, stronger bonding, and lower incidence of conflict than periodically adopting single unrelated adult cats. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1151–1154)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research